The first is from Joachim Martillo...
Some discussions of Zionism really require the participation of people with a background in German or Slavic studies.The second comment is from "Danaa", who begins by quoting from the original posting to which these comments are responses...
I am fluent in German.
Before the 1950s (more correctly probably the 1990s) "völkisch" means "racist" or "racial."
How would you translate "Der völkische Beobachter"?
I translate it as The Racial/Racist Observer.
The völkisch state is a racist state or at least a racial state.
More to the point, what did Judenstaat really mean to German Jews?
It did not mean Jewish state. That would be juedischer Staat.
Judenstaat should be compared and contrasted with Rechtsaat.
A Judenstaat is a state where Jews rule or are privileged. It is hard to be more explicitly racist in German than Herzl was as much as he tried to cloak himself in liberal nationalism.
All Central and Eastern European formulations of Zionism denied the right of democratic self-determination to Palestinians on racist or racial grounds -- no if, ans, or buts.
Because Zionism crystallized in late 19th and early 20th century Central and Eastern Europe, Zionist ideology incorporates both
1. German völkisch nationalist concepts of Volk (race), Gegenvolk (anti-race), Nichtvolk (non-race), or Bevölkerung (population), and also
2. Slavic extremist organic nationalist concepts of народ (naród, nation) and народность (narodność, nationality).
Zionist Hebrew vocabulary exhibits the full range of völkisch and extremist organic nationalist concepts in am (race), leom (nation), neged-am (anti-race), i-am (non-race), leumanut (nationality), and ukhlasiyah (population).
From the standpoint of Zionist ideology Palestinians stand in more or less the same position as Jews do in German Nazi ideology. Hence it has been common for Zionists to argue that Palestinians only define themselves negatively in opposition to Zionism (i.e., as an anti-race) while other Zionists like Golda Meir would deny that Palestinians constituted a genuine people (i.e., they represented a non-race) but are rather a piece of the Arab nation, to wit, a nationality (narodność), that should be absorbed into the Arab nation (naród) outside of Israel. The approach is similar to that of some Serb politicians, who wanted Albanian Kosovars to leave Kosovo in order to live in Albania.
In addition, just as there were occasionally liberal Nazis, who did view Jewry as a real Volk, there are now and then liberal Zionists, who accept the concept of a Palestinian people but would use some sort of binational subterfuge in order to avoid granting Palestinians full citizenship rights in the Israeli state. Binyamin Netanyahu does not belong to this Zionist subset. He is probably closest to the German Nazis, who viewed conquered Poles as members of a Bevölkerung (population) with no rights within the German Reich except existence as long as they groveled sufficiently. In Netanyahu's conceptualization the Palestinian "state" serves as a formal structure of control for the Palestinian Bevölkerung.
The points above notwithstanding, there is a more serious issue.
The logic of supporting a Zionist territorial claim based on the etymological connection of the word Jew with the word Judea would give Irish Roman Catholics the right to steal and ethnically cleanse Rome because the word Roman is morphologically derived from the word Rome. In other words, Zionism is so extreme that it is psychotic, and the failure of Americans to show any awareness of inherent Zionist extremism strips the term extreme of any meaning in US political discourse.
[Note that I exempt Judah Magnes from the above discussion because he was American and was willing -- as far as I can tell -- to concede the right of democratic self-determination to the native Palestinian population because he recognized the right of Palestinians to limit the immigration of ethnic Ashkenazim and Jews of other ethnicities to Palestine.]
" Israeli Jews don't discriminate against Israeli Arabs because they feel themselves ethnically or racially superior to them. They do so because the structures of Israeli society favor the Jewish sector of the state. There is a feeling of dividing the pie to help your own kind. This is tribalist but it is not racist."
I honestly don't see how you can say this about Israelis - unless you live in a special bubble (which you may, being an academic, orthodox and all). Surely you can't have missed how utterly superior Israelis feel relative to palestinians, arabs in general, and actually to any non-Jew. I grew up in Israel and from day one "choseness" and "superiority" were drummed into us by the educational sytem. You should take a look sometime at the textbooks that proliferated in Israel in the 60' through 70'. When it come to history, they are basically ethnocentric manifestos of superiority to all others, unjustly persecuted for being better people and smarter to boot too. That's how we, who were secular, learnt the bible too - the jews were always right (except when they fought among thermselves, which was plenty often), and they absolutely had the prerogative of lording over others, courtesy of a god in which we, the secular, didn't even believe in the slightests. But we liked the message and who care if "choseness" had a few built-in contradictions? I mean Jews are smarter, right? and Arab are stupider, no? And non-jew, christians included, are unfortunate in being born who they were. And that's what you hear on the streets of Israel from regular, everyday people, and even some highly educated ones. And that is the majority of the people, including every one of the few hundred people I still know there, and my family members with whom I can barely speak any longer.
You can quibble about whether zionism was inherently racist or not. That kind of thing only seems to matter to people who are either outside Israel or who moved there as relative adults. The reality is that zionism is, and has been for decades, deeply, disturbingly racist, as well as ethno-centric as well as tribal. Personally, I see little need to separate these trends. They are all disturbing and contemptible in equal measures.
Please Jerry, do get out of the ivory tower now and then and talk to the taxi drivers, the secretaries, the sales people, the insurance agents, the health care workers, the people on the buses. Talk to them and ask how they feel about blacks, about arabs, about non-Jews, and yes, about christians. And Obama. Let's not forget to ask how they feel about Obama. The kind of deeply-embedded, ideologically implanted contempt for others, is not "merely" tribal. It is tinged, to its core with the sense of superiority you seem to deny. And that, according to later' definition make it racist, no?